AT the lowest point in her life, Dawn Marchment saw death as an easier escape than the looming weight-loss battle she faced.
“I’ve been to hell and back over the past 30 plus years,” says the local mother of two.
“At one stage I thought I would rather be dead.”
At her heaviest, she weighed 125kgs – at just 21-years-old.
Later, her body would suffer from the shocking side-effects of lap band surgery.
Her stomach would split in two.
And for years, vomiting blood and chunks of rancid, rotten meat would become a part of everyday life.
Her hair was falling out, her skin pale and sunken from malnutrition, and her spirit completely broken by the state of her body.
Depressed and lying in a tear-soaked bed on her 40th birthday – she realised something had to change.
“I had reached the lowest point in my life,” she recalls.
“I woke up and basically said to myself ‘Well Dawn, you are either half way dead or you can start living a life you love’.”
There after, she took her first life-changing step into a weight watchers meeting in Port Macquarie.
A year and a half on, and 41-year-old Dawn is a healthy, fit and powerful woman with a completely different outlook on life.
She reversed her lapband surgery and exercise, a healthy diet of fresh and natural foods and being generally active has transformed her body.
Dawn has lost an incredible 40kgs and gained a deep seeded sense of self-respect that can only come with defeating your demons.
“Now that I’m 41, I can look back and understand where I’ve come from and where I’ve been,”
“I was always the loudest, the centre of attention, the party animal of the group. I had to be liked for something but it was my coping mechanism, because the moment I wasn’t - I turned into the poor, insecure fat girl.”
Today Dawn still lights up the room with her presence.
But her outgoing, vivacious personality is no longer a fake facade she hides behind.
You get the feeling that Dawn is simply in love with her life.
And the adventurous and very active mum sure seems to be making up for any lost time.
On a recent fitness retreat to New Zealand, with close friend and weight-loss partner in crime Amanda Jenner, Dawn realised just how much her weight had once held her back.
At the base of Mount Tomeree in Port Stephens, she remembered being unable to climb the same mountain with her family and kids two years ago.
“Back then, as per usual my first reaction and answer was ‘No way. There is no way I am walking up there, sorry guys but mummy just wouldn’t make it’,” she recalls.
But a now fit and empowered Dawn breezed through the climb and easily reached the peak with Amanda.
As she took in the marvellous surrounds the realisation of how destructive her weight was to her lifestyle was simply overwhelming.
“I burst into tears. I was laughing and crying at the same time.”
“It was because of me that my family had been deprived of seeing such an amazing view, all because of my weight – and what a view it was. I can’t imagine all the other things they missed out on.”
These days her motto in life is: “you need to be living a powerful life and living a life you love.”
Dawn has swapped cafe chats for beach walks, and fried foods for fresh salads.
Ultimately, and most importantly, she has changed her mindset.
“You can’t think of yourself as a poor, fat girl on a diet with an expiration date.
“Instead wake-up tomorrow morning and think like an athlete.
“They’re dedicated to their bodies and eating the right foods to fuel them.”
She says loosing weight is completely possible.
It is hard, and there is no quick fix, but you can do it, and you need to for the sake of your children and your loved ones.
“You’re literally killing yourself - food addiction is like a self-sabotaging drug,” she says.
“Stop feeling sorry for yourself, and stop thinking it’s okay to be fat. Believe you’re worth more, and you know what so are your family and kids.”
“Don’t deny yourself an amazing and fulfilled life.”